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Holistic Industries Fined $200k Over Massachusetts ‘Mold Scandal’

Massachusetts’ Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) has fined multi-state operator Holistic Industries $200,000 for allegedly knowingly selling moldy cannabis to consumers.

The so-called ‘mold scandal’ began in 2021, when whistleblowers at Holistic’s facility in Monson first alerted regulators.

Following an independent investigation into the facility, grow rooms, processing tables, HVAC systems and office spaces were found to be contaminated with mold. Despite these findings, Holistic did not halt production or remediate the issue promptly.

Speaking to MJBiz Daily, Holistic’s Interim Head Counsel, Jamie Ware, said: “We had issues with mold in our Monson facility in 2020/2021 and determined the safety of our plants was not compromised. To be clear, no product was ever sold or in the hands of consumers that did not pass testing from a state-approved facility.”

CCC documents suggest that rather than dealing with the mold issue, Holistic sought out permissive lab testing to pass inspections. This led to numerous consumer complaints about the moldy smell and taste of Holistic’s cannabis products.

The case, which was resolved via a settlement on May 09, 2024, has driven renewed calls for tighter regulatory oversight and more stringent testing requirements.

Commissioner Kimberly Roy praised the whistleblowers for their courage in speaking out and called for the creation of a dedicated whistleblower hotline to protect both consumers and workers. The CCC determined that Holistic violated four state regulations, including jeopardizing public welfare.

As part of the settlement, Holistic must submit product testing to a third-party lab agreed upon by both the state and the company for six months. The company continues to operate cultivation facilities and dispensaries in multiple states, including Maryland, Michigan, and Oregon.

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